Get the latest updates about the COVID-19 vaccine
We understand that this is an unprecedented time and one that can leave you with many questions unanswered about coronavirus and whether your medical aid option will cover the cost of the vaccination. To alleviate some stress around this pandemic, we have created a list of commonly asked questions and answered them below.
The COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged for non-pregnant women contemplating pregnancy. COVID-19 vaccines using the mRNA or viral vector technology should be offered to all pregnant women after 14 weeks gestation. Pregnant women with co-morbidities such as diabetes and hypertension in pregnancy should be prioritized for vaccination should vaccine supplies be limited.
The Moderna and Pfizer-Biotech vaccines are mRNA vaccines that do not contain a live virus. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA or cause genetic changes, as it does not enter the nucleus of the cell. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a viral vector vaccine using a modified version of a vector. Thus far, no adverse pregnancy outcomes have been reported when the same viral vector was used in other vaccines and administered to pregnant women in all trimesters of pregnancy.
You need to wait 30-days from the date of your positive result, then visit the vaccination centre to which you had been allocated, as a walk-in visitor.
The South African Department of Health released the findings of a local study in June 2021 that indicates there is currently no evidence of benefits to mortality, clinical improvement, or viral clearance. The NEMLC COVID-19 sub-committee recommended against the routine use of Ivermectin in the management of COVID-19.
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As a member of Momentum Medical Scheme, we will cover the cost of your COVID-19 vaccine in full.
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine has been declared a Prescribed Minimum Benefit by the Council for Medical Schemes and will therefore be paid for by your medical aid, irrespective of your option choice, in line with South Africa’s vaccine prioritisation guidelines.
Frontline healthcare workers started receiving vaccinations in February 2021. Phase 2 of the national vaccination process has been expanded to include the remainder of healthcare workers, as well as individuals 35 years and older from 1 August 2021. Following this second phase, individuals over the age of 18 will be able to register for their vaccine.
You will receive further communication when there are significant new developments in terms of the vaccine roll-out.
If you’re a healthcare worker, teacher or if you are over 35 years old, you can register for the vaccine.
While the vaccine rollout has been expanded to include individuals over 50, if you are a healthcare worker who has not yet been vaccinated, you can ensure you are prioritised by clicking here to register: https://bookings.v4hcw.co.za/vax/
There are three phases divided into priority groups that will have access to the vaccine. This phased approach will ensure that frontline healthcare workers and high-risk individuals have first access to the vaccine.
Frontline healthcare workers are eligible to get their vaccine from February 2021.
Remaining healthcare workers and those over the age of 50 are now being vaccinated. Those over 35 will be able to register now and start to receive their vaccines from 1 August.
Those over 18 years will be invited to go for their vaccine.
Momentum Medical Scheme reacted very early in identifying the need to make provision for the funding of COVID-19 vaccines and factored this into its annual contribution increases.
If enough South Africans get the COVID-19 vaccine, the country can achieve population immunity, which is the indirect protection from infectious disease that becomes possible when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.
The quicker we achieve population immunity, the fewer lives may be lost as a result of the pandemic. The South African economy will also be able to recover quicker from the impact of this world-wide threat, preventing further job losses.
The vaccine takes several days to become effective after you’ve received it. The general consensus at present is that you should wait until you’ve recovered, or your quarantine period is over and then get vaccinated.
Based on publicly available data (at time of publishing), no vaccine has been proven to be safe for co-administration with other childhood vaccinations administered to children under the age of 12. Tests are still underway to find suitable COVID-19 vaccines for children.
COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild side effects, such as pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, fatigue, headache, chills and muscle or joint pain. These side effects are normal signs that your immune system is building protection against the virus. Most side effects occur within the first three days of vaccination and usually only last a day or two.
These side effects can mimic symptoms of COVID-19. Self-isolate if you experience symptoms more than three days after being vaccinated lasting more than two days.
Some people who received the vaccine have had flu-like symptoms, including body aches, chills and fever. If you experience these side effects, it's a normal response and a sign that your body is building a protection against the virus. In clinical trials, some participants experienced more side effects after the second dose.
The vaccine cannot give you the virus. This is true of traditional vaccines made from dead viruses, and almost always true of live, attenuated vaccines, which in rare cases, can cause mild illness in some vulnerable populations. What’s more, the current vaccines on the market (Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson&Johnson) do not contain the entire virus, so it’s impossible for these vaccines to give you COVID-19.
The new COVID-19 vaccines teach your immune system to recognise and fight the virus. This protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. But a vaccine needs time to provide protection after it’s received. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots, such as the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
Remember, you could be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus just before or just after vaccination and get sick. So, it’s very important to continue the usual risk mitigation activities – wearing a mask, physical distancing, hand hygiene, etc.
Scientists aren’t sure. There’s not enough evidence from the clinical trials of the vaccines to confirm whether the vaccines also prevent asymptomatic infection and transmission. The companies say research is ongoing to determine the answer.
No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change your DNA in any way. The term mRNA means messenger RNA vaccines. These vaccines teach your cells how to make a specific protein that triggers your immune system to fight back against the COVID-19 virus and protect against future COVID-19 infections. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of your cells where your DNA is located.
The short answer: yes. Researchers say there are still too many unknowns about how long immunity lasts from natural infection. Though immunity from COVID-19 vaccines is yet to be determined, research shows that vaccine immunity tends to be stronger than natural immunity. Health experts advise that those who have been recently diagnosed or exposed to the virus should delay vaccination or wait about 90 days from the time of diagnosis to get vaccinated.
While approved vaccines report strong efficacy rates in preventing illness, getting one doesn’t mean you’ll immediately be able to stop wearing a mask and no longer need to adhere to social distancing. That’s because studies of these vaccines only measured if people develop symptoms, not if they can still spread the virus. There’s still a possibility that the virus could live in your respiratory tract, even if you’re generating enough antibodies elsewhere in the body to prevent you from getting sick. In other words, even if you get vaccinated and are protected from the worst effects of the disease, you may be an asymptomatic carrier and still transmit the virus to others without knowing it.
Even if you get vaccinated, there is still a risk that you will get sick.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Though experts wrestle with the exact timeline when “normal life” may resume, many believe that a vaccine will hasten the end of the pandemic and that a mask-free existence will come sooner rather than later.
Natural immunity varies from person to person. Since the COVID-19 virus is so new, experts aren’t certain how long it lasts. But current data suggests that reinfection with the virus within 90 days after the first infection is uncommon. Therefore, people with a recent infection may wait until after the 90-day period to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
You will be able to find the latest information on distribution, priority groups and whether you’re eligible to receive a vaccine on www.nicd.ac.za, the official website of the National Institute of Communicable Disease.
The only way to obtain an approved COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa is by registering on the EVDS system when it is your turn in Government’s vaccine rollout plan. If you receive any calls or messages not stipulating that you need to register on EVDS and receive a vaccine code before going to get your vaccine, it is unlikely to be from a legitimate source.